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Proposed regulation changes, safety considerations, and the unique rules around flying drones near airports means there’s a bit more to flying a drone than you might expect. Fortunately, we’ve put together a guide below on the basic rules around drone operating, especially near Newcastle Airport.

Where can I fly my drone around Newcastle Airport?

You cannot fly drones (also known as RPAs) within 5.5km of the movement area of Newcastle Airport. You must also be careful not to fly in any other no-fly zones surrounding the Airport. There are some exceptions depending on license and drone types.

For a full list of drone exceptions and no-fly zones around Australia, visit the Drone Safety webpage.

Photo taken from: ok2fly.com.au 

Drone operation safety rules and regulations

Additionally, there are rules and safety recommendations around flying near buildings, people, and aircraft. These are:

  • Only fly drones during the day and within your line of sight
  • Do not fly drones higher than 120 metres above the ground
  • Keep drones at least 30 metres away from other people and do not fly directly above any persons
  • Do not fly drones over or near emergency situations e.g. car crash, bushfire, police operations, etc.
  • Only fly one drone at a time
  • Do not fly drones in a way that could create a hazard for aircraft, vehicles, property, or people
  • Respect privacy and do not record footage without approval

Penalties for breaking drone safety rules can reach up to $10,500.

There may be additional rules and regulations depending on your type of drone, where you are flying, and whether you are operating it for recreational or commercial reasons. You can read more about specific regulations and license requirements here.

Drone registration requirements are changing

According to a proposed regulatory program by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), recreational and commercial drone operators may require accreditation from mid-2019.

Under the proposed regulations, applicable drone operators over 16 years-of-age will need to:

  • Be accredited and register any recreational drones weighing more than 250 grams for outdoor use annually; and/or
  • Be accredited and register any commercial drones annually

Accreditation would involve a free online course and quiz.

The registration cost is yet be finalised, but CASA estimates a $20 annual fee (per person) for recreational users, and a $100-$160 fee for each commercial drone.

You can read more about the proposed regulations here. Note that proposed regulations are subject to change in the future and regulation awareness and compliance is the responsibility of the drone operator.

Any further questions?

If you have a specific enquiry related to drone safety and regulations not covered above, you can contact CASA via email at rpas@casa.gov.au .

* Information sourced using CASA sources and proposals as of 27 March 2019. This guide is not exhaustive nor to be taken as professional legal advice. Accuracy is subject to change. It is the responsibility of the drone flyer to ensure they know and abide by all regulations and rules.

Newcastle Airport

Newcastle Airport is the gateway to Australia’s largest regional economy, with more than $43 billion annual output and 48,500 businesses. Jointly owned by City of Newcastle and Port Stephens Council, we are governed by an independent, skills-based Board of Directors.

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